Migration

Iraqi refugees are stranded at the Syrian-Turkish border

Middle East

Hundreds of Iraqi refugees are stranded in northern Syria near the border with Turkey with little support. Many of the Iraqis that are trapped on the border were displaced from their areas due to ISIS' invasion.

Hundreds of Iraqis remain stranded on the Syrian-Turkish border due to various conflicts in the region. While there are no accurate numbers of those seeking refuge in the opposition-controlled areas in northern Syria, a single camp on the Turkish border hosts over 70 displaced Iraqi families. The families who arrived at the Turkish border through the northern countryside of Idlib are facing many difficulties due to the lack of support and aid.

“Our situation is difficult and deplorable. We collect chicken legs and heads to cook them for our children,” said Abu Tareq, a displaced Iraqi man.

Um Ahmed, a displaced Iraqi woman who was forced to flee from her home with her children, suffered a disease that has left her paralysed and fully dependent on her two young children.

“I cannot move on my own. I am only able to talk and move my head,” said Um Ahmed.

Other families in the camp face a similar fate with many of them having little to no hope of ever crossing into Turkish territory to receive medical aid before it’s too late.

“Is it reasonable that organizations providing support are unable to accommodate 70 Iraqi families? The situation of Iraqis here is worse than that of all displaced Iraqis,” said Ahmed Sarmeen, the director of the camp.

According to statistics released by international organisations, over six million Iraqis were affected by the crisis that started with the invasion of ISIS in 2014. While many displaced people have been able to return to their areas, they have complained that their homes are destroyed and that services in their cities are absent.

Others, like those trapped on the Syrian-Turkish border, are stuck in camps without aid, are unable to return to their homes due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Now that the militant organisation has been defeated in the country, the Iraqi Government along with international organisations must make an effort to aid Iraq’s displaced citizens return home.